Premier League: Refocused Berbatov tipped to ease Fulham’s relegation worries

AT CRAVEN COTTAGE

FULHAM 2 vs ASTON VILLA 0

STRIKER Dimitar Berbatov is fully focused on preserving Fulham’s Premier League status, according to head coach Rene Meulensteen.

The Bulgarian nonchalantly stroked in a first-half penalty to cap a starring role that ended his team’s seven-match losing streak and simultaneously produced their biggest home win since January.

And Meulensteen, who enjoyed his first victory as manager, feels his notoriously sulky striker is dedicated to lifting the Cottagers out of the relegation mire.

“I had a good chat with him, Berba isn’t a stranger to me. He is fully committed to Fulham and the games that we’ve got ahead of us,” said Meulensteen. “Anyone with a good focus and knows the job in hand, you get results like this. We saw what he’s capable of doing.”

Villa, who by the admission of manager Paul Lambert “didn’t get going”, were effectively out of the contest by the half hour.

On 21 minutes Ashkan Dejageh looked to have overhit a through pass, but Steve Sidwell refused to give up the chase and got a toe to the ball before defender Leandro Bacuna to squeeze in his third goal of the season.

And the win was made safe eight minutes later when Alexander Kacaniklic was barged over inside the box by Bacuna and Berbatov converted the spot-kick.